24: Episode 24: collaboration, inclusion and optimism for the post-Covid HE sector


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In this episode of University Registrars Talking About Stuff it is my enormous pleasure to be talking to Sheena Stewart who is University Secretary at Abertay University in Dundee.

Sheena has worked at Abertay for an extraordinary 30 year period but, given what we have been through lately, we mainly look back at the past 12 months and then into the future too. Sheena has led the University's Coronavirus response team throughout this time and observes that the reaction of colleagues across the institution to the Covid challenge has been tremendous, representing a really powerful team effort. Collaboration with the University of Dundee and Dundee & Angus College as well as with the City Council and Public Health has been really powerful and positive throughout this period and similarly at national level with Universities Scotland and NUS Scotland working well together with universities and the Scottish Government.

Thinking about new patterns of working for the future which have emerged from the experiences of the last year Sheena highlighted the steps taken to include voices from a diverse range of colleagues across the University in developing policies and procedures. Stressing that not everything can be perfect, for staff or students, has been important in setting expectations and students have responded extremely well even in the most trying circumstances.

Looking at the uncertain future for the sector including regarding student applications, international enrolments and the impact of new Covid variants Sheena is nevertheless optimistic about what the years ahead hold. Given the experience of blended teaching delivery, flexible working and patterns of student learning it looks like Abertay is well placed to deliver successfully on its strategy in the years ahead. Sheena is similarly upbeat about the prospects for the rest of the sector too.

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